I really don’t care about the “Simmons steals!” “controversy” (Basketball Prospectus’ John Gasaway nailed the only essential point to be made), but I do care about Simmons professing some aversion to sports blogs.
Why? Because he’s lying. (Probably. Maybe.)
Obviously, the tweet in question is from yesterday, December 4th. So it is possible that Simmons is telling the truth about not reading sports blogs right now.
But let’s look at a quote from a Mediaite interview this July:
1. How do you get your first news of the day?
ESPN.com, RealClearSports, hoopshype, Buster Olney’s baseball blog, Mike Lombardi’s football blog, Deadline Hollywood Daily, Drudge Report, TV Tattle, Google Trends, my Twitter page.
That would be two blogs mentioned by name; RealClearSports, half-blog, half-aggregator of blogs (and visited by Simmons no later than October 26th at least; and HoopsHype, which is a blog if MLB Trade Rumors is. But, hey, you “don’t read sports blogs.”
Let’s take it further back: In July, Simmons responded to a post at The Big Lead with an email, and in May, he fired off this tweet in response to this post, which implies that he is at least aware that Deadspin and TBL post daily.
This is the way (young writers are) going to get heard, and maybe they make some mistakes in how they’re trying to get heard, but for the most part, I think it’s a good thing, ultimately.
So blogs are “a good thing” but Simmons doesn’t read them, despite being a sports writer currently writing only on the Internet? Okay. Sure.
But let’s ask the question: Nothing Bill Simmons reads on the Internet comes from sports blogs? All the information he takes in is from basic mainstream media sources, or from TV, or from his own inbox? The Wayne Winston post he mentions here was just fed to him without him ever visiting the site?
We can classify Simmons as a sports blog “reader,” if not a devotee, for going to the sites he claims he visits daily; it is also fair to assert he “reads” sports blog by going to links that are blogs that people send him. I don’t think there’s any way “I don’t read sports blogs” is true by those measures.
Simmons likely means to say “I don’t regularly read sports blogs,” which makes a lot more sense. Certainly, it would take a lot of time for someone who writes about sports for a (handsome) living to read the viewpoints and prose of other writers on sports from the newspaper and mainstream website realm, even without venturing into the blogosphere.
I don’t buy it, though. I still think Simmons reads a number of blogs—probably some rotation of Deadspin, TBL, RCS, SportsByBrooks, and a few others&mdas;that give him a very shallow understanding of what’s bubbling in sports opinion and what’s shaking in sports media. (Fire Jay Mariotti concurs, and remembers this tweet, which I didn’t.)
I think that he thinks that shallow understanding is quite enough of a dip into the cesspool of the blogosphere; one doesn’t swear on a child’s life next to a definitive denial unless that denial is truly meant adamantly.
And I don’t think that’s nearly enough: Shouldn’t a “Sports Guy” whose writings speak to what the average young white male sports fan experiences be reading blogs like those increasingly Internet-fluent, information-devouring dudes are?
Simmons should, when talking about “blogs,” avoid blanket statements that rankle bloggers. (Because that’s how posts like this get written.) But he should also consider engaging with them by both reading and trying to learn from them. He could stand to learn that, in the blogosphere, most don’t "steal ideas", but build upon others’ points to extend the life and value of thoughts.
If he were a little more receptive and intellectually curious, he might not get people on the Internet making snarky jokes in their headlines about how his poorly-phrased tweets endanger his progeny.